Alpert-Shroyer 2010 Bonus World Cruise travel blog

Blue waters & high wave action on the way to the Reef...

Marine World's Reef Platform billed as "Reef Magic," large & room for...

Helicoptor tours launching from a flat top heliport barge. They offered short...

Barnacles and sea plants growing on the bottom of the Reef Platform,...

another helicopter & heliport flattop barge-the reef is plainly visible in the...

Another Reef Platform & research station nearby Marine World

Marine World Reef Platform seen from the observation deck of our catamaran

Our Platform for entry to the Great Barrier Reef-this side (near the...

In coming inclimate, overcast weather overtaking mountains in background & soon our...

Various ships in one of the sheltered marinas in Cairns

Welcoming "party" with local fruits that were all delicious, sweet and as...

Close up of the "fruit line" the ladies prepared for the returning...

Mountains of the surrounding rainforest that makes Cairns so hot & humid

Ian is one of the best butlers in the world of butlers...

Barrier island making up the "barrier reef" of Australia & much of...

Exotic fruits purchased at the local market for the enjoyment of the...

Local crab & Langosteenos are served for our lunch enjoyment with fruits...

Friendly waiters & housekeepers make sailing on the Voyager a pleasant experience

We enjoyed the rambutan, lyeches & Dragon fruits (speckled white meat fruit...

part of another barrier reef island that make up the Great Barrier...


Hello, again from Australia. There will be limited photos from this stop, unless Ellie downloads her photos from their tour of Karunda Eco Park (we did that the last time we were here) because I do not have access to an underwater camera & my tour to the Great Barrier Reef is only photos of what is above the water (the "mental photos" are firmly fixated in my mind's eye forever). A journal entry will be forthcoming but I apologize for not being able to download the photos in my mind to the internet except through traditional words (then YOUR mind will have to interpret what my eye saw!!!)

Ellie & Debbie decided they could not negotiate the 1 & 1/2 hr catamaran journey, getting into & out of the water to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, so they decided to see the wildlife & ecological site in the dry rain forest. It was a short trip of about 3 & 1/2 hrs & were back to the ship by 15:00 (3 pm). My tour lasted about 8 hrs. (3 hrs is travel to and from the reef platform). I returned to the ship by 17:30 (5:30 pm), just before the ship's departure at 19:00 (7 pm).

The Great Barrier Reef is truly fascinating and a natural Oceanic wonder of the World. Our ride to the reef was a little rough & took a little longer to get there, due to higher than normal winds on the bow, making waves about 4-6 ft. The ride home was much quicker because of the tail wind on our stern and reduced wave action. Reef diving & snorkeling is so popular, that when we got to one of the areas of the reef where snorkeling & diving took place, we found several other platforms. Our Platform was a large on with a large gathering area, kitchen facilities, very large & accommodating divers area and water entry platforms. "Reef Magic" was the name of our tour & the area of snorkeling & diving (& platform) is called "Marine World." It was a "polished" aquatic effort with several marine biologists, helicopters pilots & dive specialists with guides and assistants to handle about 300+/- guests, young & old.

We had about 3 & 1/2-4 hrs of "in the water" availability. I spent all but about 30 min.s (to let my hands get "unwrinkled") in the water looking at the many fish, corals and aquatic life of the reef. Part of that time was almost an hour swimming with about 12-14 very large fish called bumphead parrotfish. These fish varied in size from 4-8 ft long, almost a 1-1 & 1/2 ft wide & were a gray-blue color, except for the flat portion of their foreheads that were a pinkish-burgundy color from rubbing against the coral when the ate big chunks (about baseball to softball size) of coral. These fish had big, fist size parrot like beaks & weren't aggressive, just hungry. They swam around, over & in the large formations of coral, eating the coral, crushing the chunks in their mouth & passing the remains out as they swam around (that is where all the white sand comes from-coral is the silica made from limestone, dissolved in the water that the anemones of the coral form the hard, white "skeleton" of the coral with). They "grazed" like cows on the coral & did a lot of damage to the coral itself just eating! I swam with them & continually watched them eating & swimming around the formations of coral. They ate staghorn coral, table coral & bolder coral in the reef, like grass that cows eat on land.

I was told later one of the marine biologist swam with them, like I did & was bitten for some reason by one of them. This fish is large enough to do great damage to a soft body (arm or leg, foot or hand). The biologist was not hurt very badly because he wore a wet suit & booties, so , when the fish bit above his ankle, the overlapping seams of the suit & booties kept the bite from penetrating too much in to the skin. When I heard that, I thought I was lucky but not too concerned because I did not get close enough to touch them, only within a foot of any one of them several times. It was simply a moving, awe inspiring, humbling experience & I really enjoyed & appreciated the time with them.

After drying off & changing into dry clothes, everyone got back into the catamaran to return to land & we wished we could have stayed longer and appreciated the visit to this aquatic wonderland.

When I got back to the room Ellie & Debbie were both tired & exhausted from their trip to the rainforest so we went to eat & immediately to bed. We have a day at sea before our stop at Thursday Island, that is the northern most island at the peninsula tip of Australia & near New Guinea, so we should be rested enough by then.

"Our World, Our Way, No Regrets!"



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